To Animate or Not To Animate

An example of leveraging animation to support data visualization and storytelling...


Previously I wrote this post around analyzing the predictions generated by 538 during March Madness each year. At the end of the post, I briefly discuss the possibility of telling the same story using animation in place of vertically scrolling through a static set of charts. I believe that, if used correctly, the ability to animate from one chart to the next can greatly assist the reader in understanding your analysis process. 

This is by no means a statement that you should use animation in every chart you ever build. There are use cases where it makes sense and a lot of use cases where it does not. Ultimately, it is on you, the creator of the viz, the ensure that you are doing things in a way to contribute to the readers understanding of your data story (and not just adding stuff for UI "fanciness"). Animation can be helpful, but can also become a form of what Tufte describes as "chart junk" very quickly.

From the workbook published within the initial post, we have five static charts which try to help guide the reader from one step of the analysis to the next. At the beginning of this post, we have the same five charts, with animation added in order to link the steps together. Which do you think is easier to follow? Vote below...

Which do you prefer? *
Select the viz UX that you think works best

All files supporting the embedded visualization at the top of this post are included on my git.